United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
BRANDON C. MCDUFFIE, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM SWIEKATOWSKI, Defendant.
STADTMUELLER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 10, 2017, the Court screened Plaintiff's original
complaint. (Docket #8). The Court permitted Plaintiff to
proceed on a claim of excessive force under the Eighth
Amendment against Defendant William Swiekatowski
(“Swiekatowski”). Id. at 2-5. On August
25, 2017, the Court entered a scheduling order in this matter
and afforded Plaintiff until September 25, 2017, to file an
amended complaint if he chose to do so. (Docket #12).
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on September 19, 2017.
(Docket #19). The Court now turns to screening that amended
noted in the first screening order, the Court is required to
screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against
a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a
governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court
must dismiss a complaint, or portion thereof, if the prisoner
has raised claims that are “frivolous or malicious,
” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b). All of
the standards cited in the first screening order remain
applicable here. (Docket #8 at 1-2).
amended complaint is almost identical to his original
complaint. Compare (Docket #1), with
(Docket #19). Put briefly, Plaintiff's claims arise from
his attempted suicide on February 14, 2017, by jumping off of
a three-story-high structure. (Docket #19 at 3). Swiekatowski
shot Plaintiff with a pepper ball gun in order to encourage
him to come down from the structure. Id. at 4.
Plaintiff did not jump, but he says that Swiekatowski's
shooting did not help matters and was unwarranted under the
circumstances. Id. at 4-5.
only differences of note between the original and amended
complaints are that (1) a previously dismissed defendant,
Warden Scott Eckstein, is no longer mentioned, and (2)
Plaintiff appears to assert an additional claim for
Swiekatowski's deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs-here, his mental health issues. See
Id. at 7. While correctional officers are not often
liable for failing to care for an inmate's serious
medical needs, see Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742,
755 (7th Cir. 2011), because Plaintiff's claim implicates
alleged suicidality, and in light of the lenient standard of
review applied at screening, the Court will permit the claim
to proceed, see Matos ex rel. Matos v.
O'Sullivan, 335 F.3d 553, 556 (7th Cir. 2003);
Estate of Novack ex rel. Turbin v. County of Wood,
226 F.3d 525, 529 (7th Cir. 2000). Consequently, the Court
will permit Plaintiff to proceed against Swiekatowski on a
claim of excessive force, in violation of the Eighth
Amendment, and a claim of deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs, also in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Court will close by addressing Plaintiff's pending motion
for a temporary restraining order. (Docket #14). In the
motion, Plaintiff seeks an order separating him from
Swiekatowski during the pendency of this litigation and for a
prison transfer to avoid what he views as retaliation for his
bringing this lawsuit. (Docket #15 at 1-2). The alleged acts
of retaliation include punitive segregation, denial of access
to the law library, and harassment by prison staff other than
obtain preliminary injunctive relief, whether through a
temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, a
plaintiff must show that (1) his underlying case has a
reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, (2) no
adequate remedy at law exists, and (3) he will suffer
irreparable harm without the injunction. Wood v.
Buss, 496 F.3d 620, 622 (7th Cir. 2007). If he shows
those three factors, the court then balances the harm to each
party and to the public interest from granting or denying the
injunction. Id.; Korte v. Sebelius, 735
F.3d 654, 665 (7th Cir. 2013).
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Natural Res.
Def. Council, 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). A preliminary
injunction is appropriate only if it seeks relief of the same
character sought in the underlying suit, and deals with a
matter presented in that underlying suit. Kaimowitz v.
Orlando, Fla., 122 F.3d 41, 43 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing
De Beers Consol. Mines v. United States, 325 U.S.
212, 220 (1945)); Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470,
471 (8th Cir. 1994) (“[A] party moving for a
preliminary injunction must necessarily establish a
relationship between the injury claimed in the party's
motion and the conduct asserted in the complaint.”).
this backdrop, the Court must deny Plaintiff's motion.
First, his allegations of retaliation are conclusory at best.
He does not create a colorable link between the actions of
prison officials-none of whom are defendants in this case-and
the filing of his lawsuit. His conjecture that these acts are
being done with retaliatory animus is not enough.
Plaintiff's request for a transfer is unrelated to his
underlying claims of excessive force and deliberate
indifference to his medical needs. Indeed, he does not
identify any ongoing retaliation by the lone defendant in
this case, Swiekatowski. As a result, the Court is not
inclined to grant the requested relief, as doing so would
expand the reach of this case to matters outside the
complaint. If the actions of other prison officials interfere
with his ability to litigate this case, that may be a
separate claim not related to the operative allegations here.
Plaintiff's requested relief is overbroad. With respect
to preliminary injunctive relief regarding prison conditions,
Congress provides that such relief must be “narrowly
drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm
the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least
intrusive means necessary to correct that harm.” 18
U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2). Further, the court must give
“substantial weight to any adverse impact on public
safety or the operation of a criminal justice system caused
by the preliminary relief[.]” Id.
Plaintiff's requests for a no-contact order and for a
transfer out of his present institution are well beyond the
scope of what the court can order in any narrowly tailored
preliminary injunction. See id.; Westefer v.
Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012) (“[T]he
PLRA enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme Court in
cases challenging prison conditions: ‘[P]rison
officials have broad administrative and discretionary
authority over the institutions they manage.'”)
(quoting Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467 (1983)).
At a minimum, such requests are “highly intrusive to
the inner workings of the prison system and would tread upon
the DOC's authority over running their
institution.” Capoeria v. Pollard, Case No.
16-CV-224, 2016 WL 1452398, at *4 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 13, 2016)
(citing Baird v. Hodge, Case No. 13-cv-0376-MJR-SCW,
2013 WL 6493694, at *8-9 (S.D. Ill.Dec. 10, 2013)). His
request for injunctive relief will, therefore, be denied.
See Chicago Dist. Council of Carpenters Pension Fund v. K
& I Constr., Inc., 270 F.3d 1060, 1064 (7th Cir.
2001) (“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary
remedy that should not be granted unless the movant, by a
clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.”).
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's amended
complaint (Docket #19) shall be the operative complaint in
IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to the informal
service agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Justice
and this Court, Defendant shall file a responsive pleading to
the amended complaint within sixty (60) days of receiving
electronic notice of this order;
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for a
temporary restraining order (Docket #14) be ...